16.01.2023 - Green technology, Startups, Technology

Aerones to expand services and improve efficiency

Aerones, the robotic wind turbine maintenance and inspection company, has raised a $30 million investment to expand its global operations. The capital will be used to help the company meet surging demand in a market expected to reach $50 billion in value by 2028.

The $30 million investment now announced, together with the €9 million raised last April, brings the total funding to €39 million, as reported by TechCrunch last December.

This funding round will allow Aerones to grow its technical and sales functions, increase the number of field-deployed robot service teams, expand its presence in fast-growing markets including Africa and Australia, and bring new services to market.

“Global challenges mean our mission – ensuring the effective operation of global wind power capacity – and our robot-enabled solutions have never been more important or in demand. With the support of our new and existing investors, we look forward to further scaling our operations, investing in our technology, and enhancing our offering,” said Dainis Krūze, co-founder and CEO of Aerones.

The investment round is led by Lightrock, a global growth equity investor, and Haniel, a family-run growth equity investor in Europe. Climate-focused growth equity investor Blume Equity and existing investors Change Ventures, Metaplanet, Mantas Mikuckas, Pace Ventures and Future Positive Capital also participated in this funding round.

“Aerones has developed a unique robotic platform that generates real ROI for customers in a huge growth market. We’re excited to be backing Dainis, Janis, and the whole Aerones team as they continue to reduce costs and inefficiencies in the global wind industry,” said Nigel McCleave, Director of Lightrock.

Philipp Goehre, head of growth capital at Haniel, says Aerones is changing the way wind turbines will be serviced in the future. “It’s a perfect fit for our climate tech investment focus and we will actively support the company leveraging both our experience and our network,” he stated.

Improved speed and efficiency

With its range of proprietary technology, Aerones is revolutionising the normally complex and costly process of inspecting, maintaining and repairing global wind power capacity. Aerones’ robot-enabled solutions are up to six times faster, 40 percent more efficient, and much safer than conventional solutions, which involve certified rope access technicians who are slower, in short supply, and unable to operate in poor weather conditions. Aerones began offering basic inspection services in 2019, but the company’s patented modular robotic solution now enables a full suite of inspection, maintenance and repair services.

The combination of Aerones’ robotic efficiencies and ability to bundle different complementary services via the same platform has helped drive commercial efficiencies for both original equipment manufacturers and asset owners alike. Today, the Company serves customers that represent 50 percent of the world’s wind power capacity, including leading operators such as NextEra, GE, Vestas, Enel and Siemens Gamesa. The Company currently operates across North America, Europe, and South America, and has seen demand for its services more than triple in 2022.

The company says demand for its services more than tripled last year. Aerones’ range of robotic solutions already serves customers representing 50% of the world’s wind power capacity. The global wind turbine maintenance market is currently worth $30 billion.

$9 million investment secured in 2022

In April last year, Aerones raised $9 million in seed capital to develop its robotic services for wind energy operators around the world. The aim of the investment was to support Aerones’ efforts to become the innovation pioneer in the wind energy sector, wrote Labs of Latvia. With the seed capital, the company planned to increase production and expand services to meet the rapidly growing demand.

“We are rapidly scaling up in terms of both robots and field maintenance teams. This funding allows us to continue our rapid growth and prepare for our Series A funding round later this year,” said Dainis Krūze, CEO and co-founder of Aerones, in April.

Future Positive Capital was the lead investor in the April investment round, together with Change Ventures, which has invested in Aerones before. Other investors include Skype founder Jaan Tallinn through his company Metaplanet, Vinted co-founder Mantas Mikuckas, Printify co-founder Jānis Berdigans, Capitalia, Pace Ventures and EcoSummit.

Graduates of Y Combinator accelerator

The founders of Aerones are Jānis Putrāms, Dainis Krūze and Andris Dambis. The company dates back to 2015, when the team was researching high-performance unmanned aerial vehicle technologies. However, Putrāms considers spring 2018 as the “real” milestone, which is when the well-known Y Combinator accelerator approached Aerones. There, the team established its niche – wind turbines and their servicing. At the time, the plan was to work with drones, however, while collaborating with the first customer, the team concluded that this was not the best approach. Instead, the company started using robotic arms.

The group has previously raised €8.4 million in external capital. Aerones Inc. has raised €2 million in investment from Change Ventures, Sensum and Y Combinator. Aerones Nordic has raised €2.7 million from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s InnoEnergy programme, wrote Labs of Latvia, and €2.2 million from Expansion Capital, reported Labs of Latvia. The startup has also received a €2.5 million grant from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to test and adapt the existing wind turbine blade inspection, maintenance and repair solutions intended for use on dry land for servicing offshore wind turbines, wrote Labs of Latvia.

In 2022, Aerones received the Baltic Sustainability Innovation Award in two categories – Green Innovation among startups and the Renewable Energy subcategory of Environmental Impact, wrote Labs of Latvia. Last year, Aerones was recognised as the best regional startup in Eastern Europe in the Unicorn Battle competition, wrote Labs of Latvia. It was also ranked among the top 100 in the world’s prestigious Start Up Energy Transition (SET100) awards. The Latvian company was included in the Clean Energy Creators category and was one of 23 startups to demonstrate outstanding achievements in this segment. 543 startups from 89 countries applied for the 2021 SET100 competition.

Author: Anda Asere (labsoflatvia.com). Publicity photo.

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